To: Future AP English Literature Students
From: Laura Leaney, Instructor
AP ENGLISH: SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT FOR FALL 2012
This summer, you’ll be required to read two novels that will be of thematic importance all year. The first title, which the school can provide, is Bryce Courtney’s The Power of One and the second is Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. The ISBN number for Suns is 978-1-59448-950-1, which will make it easier to purchase at an on-line behemoth like Amazon. If you are one to write notations on the pages of your books and would like to purchase The Power of One as well, the ISBN number for that novel is 0-345-41005-x. These two novels use simple prose and are considered “popular” books (although the College Board seems to have a special affection for the novels of Hosseini), but each contains important symbols and both are rich in theme. Because you are going to need a stunning grasp of the details for each novel, set out a strategy for handling your reading in order to remember the texts for discussion and assessment in September. Fill out a literary review sheet for each work. Even though this is “summer” reading, these books are part of the AP curriculum and should be read with that in mind.
The Power of One deals with an individual’s life “journey,” and I would very much like you to see the pattern of that journey (such as the significance of locations and types of travel). As your read, pay attention to symbols (mines, caves, music, landscape, clothing, snakes, etc.) that enrich the story. If you do not own the book, use post-it notes to mark those passages or indicate those areas you find confusing or compelling. As The Power of One is primarily dominated by male characters, I have chosen A Thousand Splendid Suns to offset that, since the protagonists are female and unable to travel very far. Here, try to keep an eye out for symbols such as doors, gates, boundaries, geographical locations, clothing, food, and education. There is certainly a lot of material on the internet to help you understand the background of each novel, but please, be careful of depending too much on those sources. I am very concerned that your understanding and interpretation be original. Courtney does include a small but reasonably helpful glossary of Afrikaans and Boer words in the back of his novel on page 515.
You should be ready to take the reading-check test sometime within the second week of class. It is not multiple choice. The literary review sheets are due on the day of the test. Feel free to attach any additional pages.
During the first week of class, I will be setting up the foundation for a reading of Homer’s The Odyssey (Robert Fagles translation). You will be reading the epic while we are discussing the summer reading novels.
If you need more information, or need to touch base, please do not hesitate to email me at home – Laura4Lamb@att.net – in order to get what you need. If I don’t respond right away then I am traveling, but I will get back to you as soon as I return. Enjoy the books and your summer!